Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Neutral Green with Fuchsia Pop Jewelry Grouping

I like to change up the colors that I'm using a few times a year.  I knew I needed a change but to break away I turned to Pinterest to get inspired by new colors. I still dabble in tracking current fashion so among my "pins" for 2023 a lovely blend of neutral greens with a pop of bright fuchsias called to me. It's not a big shift for me because I'm using my favorite greens, but it's a nice big break from navy blues and purples.

Tiny Pod Earrings for sale HERE

Tiny Pod Earrings 2 for sale HERE

I wear the tiny pod earrings at work all the time, so I seem to start there with my color play these days. I found a movement variation that I liked and made a simple St. Petersburg Chain bracelet with that same color flow. 

St. Petersburg Chain Simple Fade Bracelet for sale HERE

Medium Open Pod Earrings for sale HERE

Then on to leaves. I might still be playing with these colors but I wanted to get these posted and up for sale on my website. I'm getting very nice responses on my social media about this set, why let people wait? 

Leaf Clasp Bracelet for sale HERE

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Mixed Stitches Curve Bangle (Experimental)

This piece started with my desire to get a curved St. Petersburg chain into my bangle design.  In it, not just attached to it. I started sketching and doodling, but at the end of the day I don't have a specific method of integrating these two ideas so I had to start making pieces.

First I didn't know what I wanted the middle accent bead of the curved pieces to be so I started there.  I knew I wanted to use the navy blue 15/0's as the main color and just started stitching rows with the different accent beads I had chosen.

I picked a middle faceted seed bead for the navy St. Petersburg chain and proceeded to start making short strips of it.  I had figured how much arching it could possibly take in this size and about the right length.  I also figured only 4 total would fit within the bangle structure I was planning, 2 on each side. This was way more planning than I usually like to do with my beading but I really really needed this design idea to get out of my head and into an actual form. I didn't know if it would "work" or not.

I tried to keep the bangles designs for the outside parts easy and not too busy. Working a kind-of blended horizontal stripe in the colors of the dress I was matching, I prepared these pieces separately. Eventually it was pieced together and its...ok.  I stopped before I got to filling in the whole piece with beads (which was my original plan). Leaving it open allowed for the St. Petersburg Chain arches to try to hold their own. If I kept beading and filled it in the chain would have gotten lost and there would have been no point putting in all the extra effort to make it in this way. I think. I could be wrong. 

It was as finished as I thought it should be. I let it sit, I wore it to Abigail's wedding layered with some other beaded pieces. It's fine but I'm not in love with it. I thought it had the potential to be a piece I could submit to exhibits but it's not there and the design kind-of fell flat for me. Sometimes our ideas are much more glorious in our minds and the reality isn't as exciting. I'm perfectly fine with not-exciting though. I think it's going to grow on me a bit more and it could be that start to something else in the future. It is time to move on to another project with different colors. I think I've been looking a blends of blues and purples for too long now and they're wearing on me. Onward and upward.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Abigail's Wedding Hair Pins

I dabble in bead embroidery when it's needed for specific pieces. In these cases I'm usually matching or complimenting some other design.  For example the bead embroidered Tiara piece that I created for Helen a few years ago. When some of my dear friends announce that they are getting married I offer to bead something for them for their wedding outfit if it calls for it. Not everyone takes me up on it, and if I don't think I can do what they want I let them know. 

Detail photo I was working off of from Abigail

Abigail asked if it was possible to do some beadwork for her hair that went with her dress. She sent me plenty of photos of the beadwork on her dress and sizes of beads and sequins to work with. I wasn't sure I could do it since I've never worked with sequins before but I started researching and playing. As I went down the sequin rabbit-hole I found this fabulous website to purchase sequins

I stitched a few pieces at a time on one piece of satin

I compiled white, off white and silver beads from my stash along with ordering a few different sequins that I thought would hopefully work. I mailed the sequin samples to Abigail to compare to her dress...whites and the various finishes are so hard to photograph and guess at! Once I had enough information and color options I started stitching. 

I always think that I don't like bead embroidery but these were super-fun. I was really amazed at how well they clustered together in Abigail's hair for her wedding. Her hair dresser did an amazing job at making the ones she chose to use look like they were all one piece. Her hair dresser had requested I put them on 2 inch U-pins which I ordered from Amazon. 

Abigail's Wedding Hair!

We had such a great time at all of the wedding festivities and getting to catch up with friends old and new. I'm always honored to have something that I handmade as part of a friend's wedding. Thank you for including us and congrats Abigail and Juan!

Lastly, I loved photographing these. I wished I had a macro lens to really get better detail of the sequins and beads together.  I'm am by no means a professional photographer but I took a lot of photos as close as I could get.  The shapes drew me in. So this blog post has extra photos!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sampling for the Anger Weaving

I don't often sample before I start in on a new large piece but I've decided to try to work with a "stash" yarn from a collection that I call "Sally's Mom's Stash." I started by making sure it would dye over the "hornet blue" color that it's label says it is. I had a lot of fun playing with dyeing again and had to keep reminding myself that it was just for a sample. Not that I wouldn't possibly be using excess weft yarn for the final piece, but I needed to not be too hard on myself about re-dyeing colors until they felt right.

I posted a lot of video of this process and my weaving, teaching myself how to use Instagram reels (with some help from WeaverBee) and encouragement from other colleagues and friends. I hate posting video but I'm getting more comfortable with it. Some of these videos even make it over to my YouTube Channel:

I have to admit, after finishing this sample piece, which doesn't look like much, I was no longer excited about having this warp on my loom. This is why I prefer to put on a fresh warp for every new piece. The colors aren't right for the final project and I've gotten what I need from the sample weaving. What to do now?  I fixed a warping error in the reed and decided to try creating a smaller piece with another idea I've been trying to work out.

I let this warp sit for a few days and then did a quick draft of this idea that I've been struggling to get the imagery on. It'll end up being a finished piece rather than another sample and I'm surprised at just how much I like how it's turning out. More to come on that piece. For now, I'll be weaving on this warp while I start to break down and print out the large cartoon for the anger weaving to be taped together. I'm still working on a final title which is why it's just called the anger weaving right now. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Denim Skirt, Because I can't stop starting new projects!

Over the past few years, as our concert-going has picked up, I have missed having a dark denim skirt in my collection as an option. Sometime in February, as I thought about what I wanted to wear to our next show (Anti-Flag and Flogging Molly) the stack of old jeans in my studio started calling to me.  I started in on this skirt a week before the show.

Cutting, pinning, dyeing, stitching and more pinning and stitching.  I have piles of beads all over my sewing table (a few too many projects going) and I didn't feel like relocating them to get to my sewing machine so I decided to finger-press and hand stitch this skirt. 

I caught most of it on hyper-lapse video.  The seam ripping and stitching at least. I compiled it into the following video with a rambling voice-over:

(I do not pretend to be good at video or editing, 
I figure the more I make myself do it, hopefully I'll get a little better)

I also threw it in a black dye bath with over double black dye I think that it should need and it still only came out dark blue. I'm not sure if maybe the fiber content isn't 100% cotton (as the label says) or if I just need to keep dyeing. There was no time, and, lets face it, I wanted to do some black sashiko stitching on it before it's first concert.

2 nights before the concert my brain wouldn't let me go back to sleep at 4am.  I had been looking at a lot of denim skirts and patches were on my brain.  I added a patch added at about 5:30am, I hated it, asked Bryan when he thought, then I cut the patch out around the spiral stitching that afternoon...I felt really off from not sleeping and for whatever reason, not being able to nap, so I just stitched. I'm going to continue to do various types of black stitching on this skirt so that it'll get darker from the embroidery floss even if I can't get the denim to fully dye black. Thus I have created another personal piece that will probably never quite be done, it'll morph and be a little different every time I wear it. Which is pretty fun. 

I have been getting into a different head space about hand stitching. It's not "too slow" its meditative and controlled. I no longer look at the time that it takes and, just like beads, one stitch at a time...one bead at a time...all of the work that I create is slow and builds up over time to become something wonderful. Everything good takes time and patience. I'm pretty over how fast everything is moving. The days and projects have been flying by despite my attempt to go slower.  How the heck did I finish a hand-stitched skirt in a week in the mornings and my lunch breaks?? It just...happened...and I enjoyed every stitch. 

standard concert dirty bathroom mirror selfie

What a great show!  It was worth being tired.

It turns out I had forgotten how to dye black and I needed to move my bucket dyeing to stove-top.  I need black for my next weaving so figuring out where I flubbed up became important...and I got it. Now I can put it in the closet for the next show or whenever I feel like stitching black again. 

I think it's going to go with most of my wardrobe..

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings
1.25W x 2T x .4D

When I finished up the blue/purple versions of my original Open Circle Chain Earrings I was on to a beading project that involved sequin. That project is for a friend's wedding so that will remain a surprise. Now I have a bunch of sequin in my stash and I didn't want to stop playing with them. I had gotten some really big ones and they called to me. 

I woke up at 4am one morning and it dawned on me that I should try putting them in the middle of my beaded circles (basically mini bangles). I didn't have my sketchbook on my night stand, I haven't needed it there in quite a long time so I was up and drawing out ideas before it became a fleeting dream. 

This first pair with only 2 sequins in the middle was definitely a learning experience, I broke a few beads trying to place the sequins. They didn't dangle quite like I had expected, but on the other hand they are so tight in the middle of the circle they stay put even when circle spins and they jut up from the bottom. 

Dress print for this set

I went with this color choice based on a dress I purchased that I thought I would wear to the wedding mentioned above.  Then I found a second dress (which is the color scheme from the first round of Open Circle Earrings), so we'll see what pans out for that. I like to have options 

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings
1.6W x 3T x .4D

This second, much larger pair I did want to dangle and see what more sequins would do. To keep them towards the top of the circle the next chain sets in the middle of them. I'm thinking about working with some of the smaller sequins but they are much more lightweight and static-y so they will function in slightly different ways and now I have to go sketch out those ideas that are popping up as I type!

All of my most recent circle chain earring (from this post and the last) will be at my Artist Pop-Up this Saturday, March 18th, at the Gutman Gallery, 118 N. 4th Ave, in Kerrytown Ann Arbor, 11am-5pm

Monday, February 27, 2023

Open Circle Chain Earrings


Open Circle Chain Multi Fade Earrings .33in W x 2.5in H x 1in D

Do you ever finish a piece, take a few photos and think "those are even more amazing then I realized"? I have been loving the earrings in the above and below photographs. They go with my entire wardrobe (black, purple, muted greens) and are my current favorite go-to earrings. They are 2.5 inches long and because they are glass seed beads they are very lightweight which is important. I know I need lightweight in my ears these days but I still want to wear statement pieces.  I made this dark and moody multi colored set sometime after the holidays and I am just now getting around to getting photos and posting. 

I was dragging my feet on posting about these Circle Chain earrings because I have been wanting to make more but I keep getting distracted with other projects. Then the inspiration hit me to try out St. Petersburg Chain Stitch side by side with peyote (more to come as this idea brews more). So I set off on the below earrings:

Open Circle Chain St. Petersburg Earrings .33in W x 2.5in H x 1in D

This navy/purple/lavender set has a peyote stitch circle (mini bangle?) with a St. Petersburg chain loop.  The way I stitch St. Petersburg Chain it doesn't have the same kind of structure as its below circle.  I think this adds a nice little change in the shape and swing of this design. 

When I am coming up on teaching specific stitches it makes me think about other ways I can apply them, so these earrings are a little bit prompted by the St. Petersburg Chain Stitch Bracelet class that I am teaching with the Midwest Weaver's Conference in June.  Check out their classes and registration HERE. I still have plenty of room in both of my classes (I'm also teaching the Russian Leaf Stitch)

Then I got back to checkers. 

I made this first checker style earring in a color fade which I wore the NYE that we got engaged. I can't seem to part with that set just yet, I wear the earrings all the time and get tons of compliments. I had been meaning to make more so below is the first set that will be available for purchase.

Open Circle Chain Checker Earrings .5in W x 3in H x 1in D

Speaking of being able to purchase; I will have my jewelry at a 1-day Pop-up show at Gutman Gallery. It's on Saturday, March 18th and my pop-up will be in conjunction with a ceramic artist named Kris Cravens. I look forward to seeing and selling, I haven't done so since December. 

"Open Circle Chain" still feels like a mouthful for the name of these earrings. I had a few responses on my social media about ideas for names of these babies and this variation settled in the best in my mind. I think I'll be able to remember it to reference regularly.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Finish and Exhibit that Piece! My Seminar at Convergence 2022

Back in July I gave a Seminar with the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Conference called "Finish and Exhibit that Piece!"

Room set up at Knoxville, Convergence 2022

Here was my seminar description with HGA: 

As a fiber artist I tend to work with a concept and do not think about how a piece is going to be presented or issues I may run into in hanging or putting the finished work together. This problem can often be solved by considering this at the beginning of the design process but there are usually plenty of bumps along the way. This seminar focuses on the importance of finishing and hanging decisions, touches on photographing work for entering shows and encourages fiber artists and hobbyists to get their work out there!

Leaf Me Alone prep to hang the piece

Before the conference I had the time to reach out to my seminar attendees to see what level of interest everyone had in the 3 main things I planned on discussing: 

1) Finish work (sewing, hand work, edging solutions)

2) Ways of hanging pieces and tools/materials to create hanging structures

3) Photographing/basic editing, what to look for in photos

All of my attendees were interested primarily in the first 2 so I didn't work on getting into photographing. Lucky me because the finishing process is much more fun to delve into. I try to make each of my talks, lectures, seminars different. I grow and learn so what I have to share grows along with me. I have a base talk that I work off of for the big key points but I always tweak my discussions the week (or day) before. I think I left photographing out besides pointing out why it's important and different ways jury processes can view photos.

Hook and loop with flatstock for hanging There and Back Again

My class was really quiet. To the point I was wondering how my attendees were doing. I did finally realize that they were just listening intently and had really great questions once we were moving along. 

I brought samples of molding, plexiglass, and the tools I use to cut and drill. There were also plenty of pieces of my own artwork with varying ways that I have finished and hung them over the years. The good, bad and the ugly. I think it's really important to be transparent about "here's where I started and didn't know what I was doing"..to "here I am now and it all looks much more professional however I'm open to new ideas and ways of making the finish work even better."

The thing I felt I missed out on was getting to look at some other people's work and discuss the issues they're hung up on. We possibly could have addressed more questions and ideas looking at work other than my own.  I did stay after to talk about some images that an attendee had sent me before the class.  I really love to talk process and help other fiber artists excel. I had also gone through some of the exhibits for the conference the day(s) before my talk and was able to incorporate photos I had taken of works everyone could see in person. I love looking at and discussion creative ways to hang exhibits.

Weavings rolled over paint rollers in plexiglass display pieces 
at an exhibit in Knoxville

I felt like the seminar went well although I could have gone on for much longer. I struggled a bit with getting it dark enough in the room to get the projector images nice and clear but no one complained about that. What I did hear the rest of the conference was how great my talk was. I was stopped in the hall by other attendees telling me they wished they had known about my seminar, a vendor asked what I taught and when I told her she said that she had heard great things about my seminar and that attendees really learned a lot. It reminded me that this really something I needed help with when I started showing my weavings. The best ideas any of us have at the beginning of trying to present textiles of all sorts is to stick it on a dowel rod which isn't the only option (and usually not the best option). 

A bad example: dowel, unfinished edge, loose stitched

Neutral Green with Fuchsia Pop Jewelry Grouping

I like to change up the colors that I'm using a few times a year.  I knew I needed a change but to break away I turned to Pinterest to g...